|William Moreland, a Granville sixth grader, shows off the plaque and Sundogs tickets he received for placing fourth in the Yavapai County Spelling Bee on Feb. 15.|
TribPhoto/Heidi Dahms Foster
William Moreland, a Granville Elementary sixth-grader, spelled his way to the top four in the 2012 Yavapai County Spelling Bee on Feb. 15.
Moreland outspelled some 46 other spellers to reach a runoff for third with Korin Farnsworth, an eighth-grader from American Heritage Academy in the Verde Valley. Farnsworth correctly spelled "fennel," and Moreland missed on "bayou." Then Farnsworth finessed "acme" for the third place finish.
Daxton Bryce, a Prescott Granite Mountain Middle School seventh-grader, placed third in the bee two years ago. In 2011, he didn't make it out of his school to the county level. This year, he said, he was "going for the win." He studied extra hard and last Wednesday bested 49 other excellent orthographers to emerge as the top speller in the county.
Chino Valley Del Rio Elementary fifth-grader James Hanson aimed for the top and nearly made it as he gave Bryce some real competition.
Hanson spelled his way through eight rounds with poise, finally misspelling "diesel," while Bryce aced "mascara." Bryce then had to correctly spell "intractable" for the win.
Hanson said he had spelled his way into some of the top rounds of his school bees, but this was his first county spelling bee.
"You can imagine how nervous I was," said the young man, who appeared amazingly calm throughout the bee. "I studied the word lists until today."
Bryce, Hanson and Moreland all still will be eligible for the bee through their eighth- grade years, so each could have another shot at the top prize.
The students, who all have won their school bees, have worked hard, and they all want to win. A lot of sighing, fidgeting and even tears take place as they work their way through a word and either smile in joy or grimace, depending on the outcome.
This year's bee, which took place at Prescott High School's Ruth Street Theatre, went only a couple rounds less than last year's 10. In the first round, such words as "shawl," "macaroni," "mischief," and "quarrel," among others, took out seven contestants.
The second round got a little tougher and seriously narrowed the field. "Schooner," "competently," "nightingale," "livelihood," and "impenetrable" quashed the hopes of 17 more spellers. One intrepid speller, though, heaved a sigh of relieve as she correctly negotiated a real whopper, "chickabiddy."
Nine spellers left the stage in round three on, among others, "luau," "malevolent," "knavery," "syringe," and "chromosome."
Twenty-eight year pronouncer JoLynne Richter pulled out such words as "simulcast," "perseverance," "linguistically," and "cornea," and six more spellers went down in round four.
Rounds five and six only saw one speller each miss - giving Shinobi Horikawa of Prescott's Mountain Oak Charter School tenth place, and Indy Holdsworth of Taylor Hicks Elementary, ninth.
In round seven, such words as "souvenir," "langosta," "incorruptible," and "pumpernickel" bested six more spellers, giving Skylar Gipson, a Prescott Valley School eighth-grader, fifth place; Glassford Hill Middle School eighth-grader Brianna Merrill sixth place; Liberty Traditional School eighth-grader Lucas Joyal fifth, and putting Farnsworth and Moreland into the third place runoff.
Bee winner Bryce received a $500 savings bond and a plaque from major sponsor M&I Bank. Runner up, third and fourth place spellers also received savings bonds and plaques. The Arizona Sundogs donated game tickets and local eateries gave meals to the top spellers.
Judges for the event included Ray Newton, Nancy Baker, and Bob Williams.
Newton, who is a professor emeritus from Northern Arizona University, lauded the spelling bee and its supporters.
"This is one of the finest events to further quality education in our county," he said